Spanking is a really ineffective form of discipline

Whether or not to spank children has always been a highly debated topic, but it’s truly an ineffective form of discipline — even if Tyra thinks “light” spanking doesn’t count as abuse and is OK.

Now, I’m sure if you ask your grandparents about spanking, they’ll likely have a no-nonsense attitude toward discipline and will praise spanking as a way to toughen kids and teach them that actions have consequences. These days, parents are growing more progressive and concerned about the ill effects that spanking can have on children — if Supernanny has taught us anything, it’s that parents are in desperate need of disciplinary advice and simply hitting them doesn’t curb bad behavior.

Spanking doesn’t curb bad behavior for the following reasons:

1. It’s not a long-term solution. Much like torture, spanking is a way to get short-term results. You hit, the child cries, and you have scared them into acting how you want them to act for the next 10 minutes. Spanking is also like torture because both do not produce adequate long-term results — you get a superficial, positive result immediately, but over time the method isn’t effective.

First, using violence gets short-term goals because the child is only stopping behavior out of fear and not out of any moral obligation or value-based thinking. You aren’t rewarding or encouraging positive behavior, but instead only threatening the child with physical pain. This physical pain is only temporary and momentary, so it doesn’t have any lasting affect on the child. Nothing is instilled in the child except a fear of violence rather than a true understanding of good vs. bad, morals, etc.

Long-term solutions come in the form of taking away privileges, time-outs, and then talking to your child after the punishment about why whatever they did was wrong. Yes, you can smack them when they talk back to you, but you also assume they will understand why they are being punished and why exactly it was wrong to act that way.

And, in today’s world of gadgets and gizmos, it is a lot more effective to take away a cell phone or computer because the momentary pain of a spanking is tolerable compared to feeling/being disconnected from the world.

2. It promotes violence as a solution. To get your child to do what you want, you proceed to hit them to get the point across. This instills anger and fear into the child, and it teaches them to be violent toward someone else in order to get that person to obey you. The child sees results when they beat up on other children, and the cycle continues.

3. It creates resentment. Yes, you get annoyed at your parents if they take away your phone, but excessive spanking can lead to a lot of resentment between child and parent. Resentment issues are likely to occur when the spankings are not “light” but actually rather rough and painful; resentment likely will occur if the spankings are frequent and often in response to mild or harmless infractions — you’d resent your parents if you got smacked every single time you did something slightly annoying and got an unwarranted and unexplained painful spanking.

And finally, some developmental psychologists promote discipline based on personality, which means your seemingly more sensitive siblings will not receive physically violent discipline but you will. I feel deep resentment toward my mom simply for being disciplined more severely than my brothers in a non-violent way (e.g. I was grounded for breaking rules, had an early curfew and they didn’t), so I can’t imagine how I’d feel if I was not only treated unfairly, but also violently disciplined whereas my brothers never were touched.

Yes, lots of people complain that children these days have it to easy and they just need a good smacking to get straight. The problem is that violence is constantly portrayed as this omnipotent solution to all our problems, when in reality it subdues them for a while but doesn’t actually solve anything.

Hmm … I wish I had written this last week when I saw the Tyra episode … I feel like I had another point to make but it’s lost now.

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